So recently I got in contact with Michael Stephens through a mutual friend at Ted Baker. He is the Creative Director for their campaigns and pretty much the images you see on social media and magazines. To be honest I did not know what to expect, this is new to me and for someone to take time out of their day to look through my work is , well, pretty damn good. My friend Milly had put me in contact , she's a bit of a wild card to say the least. There is to much to list when we talk about Milly but I think to coin an old phrase "you could write on a grain of rice who she hasnt written for" something like that. Fashion , music, celebrities, Health this girl can turn her hand to pretty much anything as long as the ink is wet she can write.
So Milly being the legend that she is put me forward to one of her old work colleagues and friends with in the industry. This was Michael so yeah I'm pretty lucky and grateful too. I had a shoot that day in London as you do, I didn't want to waste an opportunity not to shoot in the big smoke. After many locations and cups of coffee I was pretty wired to say the least. Also having one to many drinks the night before didn't impede my vim for the day although a couple of pit stops more could have been advantageous. Ted Baker in London is pretty much a big building stuck on one of the main drags on basically what looks like and industrial estate with a bus stop. I pressed what i thought was a joke button and was let in. Could of been the Hostel for all I knew but inside I was greeted by artwork and campaign images. At the end of the entrance was a lavish desk with a man dressed as if he was not meant to be there , he looked far more important. But yeah this was the receptionist and dapper doesn't cover it.
After staring for what seemed like ages I was sent upstairs to meet the main man. When getting out of the lift the first thing that hits you if you have never been to a place like this is the sheer size. All open plan and felt like a shopping centre in a strange way. Light and airy with an overtone of keyboard clatter and chatting. I pulled up a chair and waited, I felt like I was on set the waiting area was more like a studio setup. People holding onto brief cases and portfolios sat waiting to be seen or shot down , one or the other.
I was only sat momentarily before Michael came which was good because that seat was a sleeping shrine after the day I had had shooting. I was quickly taken to the canteen for another couple of shots of coffee, it seemed rude if I didn't except. Michael was not what I expected in some ways although I had no concept of what a Creative Director should be. He was chilled almost horizontal but was fully prepared with questions and a motive to extract information. Not in a bad way but to see my direction and thought process. I felt at ease and just rambled like I normally do and went off at tangents and smashed the stories together. Pretty much a nuclear speech covering everything. It was interesting to get an in sight in how Ted Baker as company works and how they put there shoots together. The main thing to me was getting some direction from Michael and what to focus on for the future. I have many years in me yet to develop although sooner the better, but someone who is respected and has had a big impact on a company as large as Ted Baker can critique me and I'll take it.
After an hour we parted and did the usual, handshake thanks for coming and the typical feeling came over me. Deja vu everyone says that? does it mean anything will there be an encore after? Have I gained anything from this? What do I do next?
I didn't need solutions or answers because for me being there and verification of the work I have been doing was more than likely what I sort. So where do i go from here? Am I done and that's it level 1 completed. Well in short no its another beginning more hard work and the chance to do some work for Ted Baker. There is always little bits of work which need doing which would suit me and also more learning to do on a larger scale.
Just remember if you don't ask you don't get never be afraid to put it out there.